News & Politics

Republicans Are Selling Their Tax Plan on a Platform of Lies

Too many taxpayers hoping for a better future are going to lose out.

Photo Credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

There are a few places where we can already see the gap between what Republicans are claiming their tax plan will do for you and what it will really do that should tell us all we need to know: if they need to lie and misdirect that much to sell the plan, voters definitely shouldn’t be buying. Take the claim that the plan would “lower the tax rate ‘for low– and middle-income Americans’ from 39.6 percent to 35 percent so ‘people can keep more of the money they earn’” … where the “low- and middle-income Americans” in question are earning $450,000 a year. Or take the $1,182 per year tax cut for a family making the median income of $59,000 a year. The reality behind that one gets complicated fast:

Under the current law, parents may claim personal exemptions on their tax forms for themselves, their spouses and their children. The new bill would replace those exemptions with an expanded child tax credit and a $300 personal credit for each parent. For some families, the value of the new package appears to be less than the value of the old package, so their taxes would go up. Also, the $300 credit is set to expire after five years.

Other workers will see tax increases by losing access to deductions they currently make heavy use of. Most notably, that includes workers with high out-of-pocket medical costs, who would no longer be able to deduct them under the Republican bill.

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A former Obama administration official has calculated that by 2024, that $1,182 cut would have turned into a higher rate than under current law.

People with student loans would also lose out, and teachers? Screw teachers:

On the secondary school side, the House GOP plan scraps a tax break that allowed teachers to deduct up to $250 in out-of-pocket expenses for the classroom.

But maybe the biggest Republican tax lie is their lie about the likely economic effects of their tax cuts for the wealthy. They say their plan will lead to an economic boom. Brian Beutler explains why we know they’re lying, and not just wrong:

We know we’re 16 years out from the first round of regressive Bush tax cuts, 14 years out from the second round of regressive Bush tax cuts, and 10 years out from those tax cuts failing to secure substantial near-term or long-term growth. After that, the entire economy collapsed. We’re five years out from the 2012 election, which Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lost on a platform of stigmatizing people who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes. We’re four years out from a substantial tax increase (thanks, Obama) that has accompanied a steady economic recovery. We’re two years out from Kansas’ experiment with regressive tax cuts that bottomed out the state’s revenue base and left its finances in ruins. We’re one year out from Trump winning the election despite lying constantly, and one month out from donors threatening to cut Republicans off if they don’t make haste with tax cuts.

There is literally nothing in the recent historical record to undergird the claim that supply-side tax policy is a magical economic elixir. And there’s nothing to suggest Republicans are deluded about this either—after all, even in this golden age of Trumpian deception, Republicans don’t go around gaslighting reporters about the economic miracle in Kansas, or the George W. Bush boom.

But they’re insisting that their latest go-round with the same basic policy idea is going to create that economic miracle. And too many taxpayers hoping for a better future are going to believe them. Maybe not a majority—so far a majority of Americans say the plan will benefit the wealthy—but too many.

 

 

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Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.